Piedmont vineyard picks NFC screw caps to fight fakes

Vigneti massa wine bottle with Guala Nestgate NFC bottle top and NFC phone
IN VINO VERITAS: Wine buyers tap their NFC phone on the NFC cap to check its provenance

A family-run vineyard in Italy has become the first in Europe to use NFC-equipped screw caps on its bottles to protect buyers from counterfeit wines.

Piedmont-based Vigneti Massa is using Nestgate NFC aluminium screw caps from Guala Closures Group on its 2018-vintage Derthona wines to give each bottle a unique identity and to allow the authenticity of the wines to be checked along the supply chain.

Through Guala’s partnership with Luxembourg-based software developer Compellio, each bottle is logged in a blockchain-based registry to provide it with a unique identity which can be checked with an NFC phone — an important protection against the growing problem of counterfeit wines.

The top of the cap can be read by tapping it with any NFC phone — no app download is needed — and the user is directed to the web to “connect with the brand and start a new and engaging one-to-one relationship,” says Guala.

“As well as providing a new experience for the consumer, the NFC system guarantees the fight against counterfeiting and the black market for these pearls of nature, assuring their authenticity and traceability,” explains Walter Massa, a fifth-generation winemaker who farms some 22 hectares (54 acres) around the village of Monleale and produces 13,000 cases of wine each year.

In addition to checking authenticity, Compellio’s platform also allows consumers to add the wines to their own ‘virtual cellar’ and access tasting notes, reviews and information about the vineyard.

“Brands can use the connectivity to tell their story, share their knowledge, offer incentives, build loyalty and encourage social media activity,” adds Guala.